Relief! Passengers with hand baggage zip out of new airport in 15 minutes

T. E. Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on March 22, 2013 Published on March 22, 2013

Passengers arriving at Chennai’s new airport terminal were surprised that they could walk out of the complex in less than 15 minutes from the time their aircraft landed. Coming out early, some of them had to wait 20-25 minutes to be picked up .

It just took eight minutes for the first passenger arriving from Delhi to come out of the terminal. “This short time was next to impossible at the old terminal,” said Sudhakar, a businessman, who is a frequent traveller between Chennai and Delhi. “I hope they will be able to sustain this over a long run,” he said.

On the second day of the new terminal’s soft launch, a SpiceJet flight with over 100 passengers touched down at 1245 hrs, and the first passenger with just a shoulder bag walked out of the terminal at 1253 hours. In the old terminal, aircraft are parked near the runway with buses ferrying passengers to the terminal. It takes more than twenty-five minutes to come out of the terminal and if there is baggage, it takes more time.

At the new terminal, even before the passengers arrive, their baggage is available for pick up on the luggage belt. “Today, it took just two minutes to move the baggage from the aircraft to the belt. This was impossible in the old terminal,” said Prem Bajaj, Chairman and Managing Director, Bhadra International Ltd, which provides ground services at the new terminal.

“We have done the baggage clearance as per international standards and benchmark of two minutes,” he told Business Line outside the terminal. “Our performancewas glitch free,” he added.

Today, the new terminal handled two aircraft of SpiceJet at different timings. On Saturday, it will handle two aircraft – of IndiGo and SpiceJet – at the same time. “It will be a challenge to see that everything works out fine,” said an official of the AAI who did not want to be quoted.

The problem of relatives and friends waiting at the old terminal while the flight arrived at the new terminal continued for the second day. This is despite the fact that airport officials have pasted posters in the old terminal arrival area informing visitors about the arrival of the two flights in the new terminal.

According to Airport Director H.S. Suresh, from March 27, arrivals of all domestic flights will be through the new terminal. From April 1, there will be a soft launch of departures starting with one flight a day, and in a full-fledged way after a week after testing all the procedures.


Published on March 22, 2013
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